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#11 UCF vs. #24 Cincinnati: Preview and Prediction

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The Knights put their 22-game win streak on the line against the Bearcats on ABC in primetime.

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Central Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

All eyes will be on UCF and Cincinnati in this sold out primetime game on ABC featuring 2 of the nation’s top 25 teams. The stakes are high as the winner will clinch the American Athletic Conference East Division. Oh yea, did I mention College GameDay will be in town as well? There is no doubt that this is the biggest regular season college football game UCF has ever played.

Kickoff

The 11th-ranked UCF Knights and the 24th-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats will kick off at 8:14 p.m. at Spectrum Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

TV

Series

UCF leads 2-1.

Last meeting: 2017. Last year’s game between the Knights and the Bearcats was an interesting one. UCF scored on every possession, lead by McKenzie Milton’s absolute monster performance. He was 16 of 19 for 374 yards and 5 touchdowns. The only thing that could stop UCF that night was the storm that rolled in which eventually led to the game being called early.

Cincinnati Coming In

It’s been an amazing turnaround for Luke Fickell and his team going from 4-8 last year to now 9-1 through 10 games of 2018. They have established themselves as a defensive powerhouse but also have the ability to score on you with their dangerous rushing attack. After finally getting some respect from the playoff committee, they’ll put their top 25 status on the line against UCF.

What to Watch For

Top units collide.

UCF’s top 10 offense will go toe-to-toe with Cincinnati’s top 10 defense in what will be the biggest test for both teams this season. The Knights come in averaging 44.2 points per game and 543 yards per game while the Bearcats are only give up 14.9 points and 278 yards on average.

If you look at Cincinnati’s schedule, which is ranked lower than UCF’s in terms of strength, they haven’t played an offense anywhere near the caliber of UCF. The same could be said for UCF in terms of a defense as good as Cincinnati’s. With that being said, I think UCF’s offense wins this battle without a doubt.

Can UCF control the ground game?

UCF has faced some of the best running backs in the nation so far this season. Devin Singletary (FAU), Darrell Henderson (Memphis) and Ryquell Armstead (Temple) are all top 25 in total rushing yards. Cincinnati’s Michael Warren will make it 4 top 25 backs Randy Shannon’s defense will go up against in 2018. The Knights are 105th in rushing yards allowed per game but at least they’re battled tested against some of the best.

Will the hype be too much to handle?

With everything that’s on the line combined with College GameDay being in town and it being Senior Knight and the last home game of the season, there are a lot of potential distractions. I know UCF’s players thrive in these types of games but I can’t help but wonder how much is too much? I have faith that Coach Heupel will have his players dialed in and having the support of a sold out home crowd is going to help a bunch as well.

Final Details

Weather:

Line: UCF is a 7 point favorite

Pick: UCF 45, Cincinnati 24

Poll

Who ya got?

This poll is closed

  • 91%
    UCF
    (45 votes)
  • 8%
    Cincinnati
    (4 votes)
49 votes total Vote Now